Memphis Grizzlies 108, Phoenix Suns 98 OT -- Heartbreak Hotel


Jermaine O'Neal and the Suns led Marc Gasol and the Grizzlies most of the game before falling in overtime. (AP Photo/Danny Johnston)

Jermaine O’Neal and the Suns led Marc Gasol and the Grizzlies most of the game before falling in overtime. (AP Photo/Danny Johnston)

The Phoenix Suns will head home after their 10-day road trip with little more than a head-scratching 1-5 record to show for themselves. There were nights where they were simply outplayed (against Detroit and New York), nights where they couldn’t seal the deal (against Philadelphia and Toronto) and then there was Tuesday night against the Memphis Grizzlies at the FedExForum.

Playing their sixth game in 10 days against a superior Memphis squad, it was almost expected that the Suns would come out and play to their  familiar role: dig an early first half deficit, fight tooth and nail to get back into the game, yet fall short when push came to shove.

Instead Alvin Gentry’s squad flipped the typical script on its proverbial side in the Suns’ 108-98 overtime loss.

After Memphis got out to an early 14-12 lead behind 12 combined points from their star big men — Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol — Phoenix forced six turnovers over the final 5:53 of the first quarter and used a 13-4 run to build a seven-point lead after 12 minutes of play.

Yet again, the Suns received phenomenal contributions off their bench from Luis Scola (16 points, eight rebounds and three steals), Jermaine O’Neal (12 points and two blocks) and Jared Dudley (13 points and three assists), especially in the second quarter, as Phoenix saw its lead balloon to 16.

But on the road against an elite team like Memphis — who came into Tuesday night’s game with the highest winning percentage in the league — the key to scoring an upset victory is learning how to pull the knockout punch as early as possible. For the Suns, that punch never came.

Although Memphis shot just a shade under 40 percent in the first half, the Grizzlies relied on their opportunities at the free throw line. In all, Lionel Hollins’ squad got to the charity stripe an astounding 21 times in the first half and converted on 14 attempts over the final six minutes of the half to cut the Suns’ lead to 52-45.

In the third quarter, the entire pace of the game took a turn in Memphis’ favor. While Phoenix briefly built a double-digit lead to start the second half, the Grizzlies began to turn up the intensity at the defensive end and the Suns had no answer. Paint chances started becoming non-existent, sloppy play reminiscent of their first quarter in New York began to set in (seven third quarter turnovers) and a comfortable lead disappeared in the blink of an eye.

Although the Suns still led by four on the scoreboard after 36 minutes of play, it was clear that they were hanging on for a dear life against an opponent who wisely could smell fear.

While Gentry left his bench combination of Dudley, Scola, O’Neal and P.J. Tucker out on the floor down the stretch to go along with Goran Dragic (19 points and seven assists), their effectiveness began to wane as Randolph and Co. took over down the stretch. Playing like a bona fide MVP candidate, Randolph had his way with O’Neal, scoring eight of his game-high 38 points in the final frame to pull the Grizzlies even at 91 with 1:31 remaining.

After Mike Conley converted on one of his two free throw attempts following a clear-path foul by Scola with just over a minute to play, the Suns’ power forward redeemed himself with a beautiful hook shot on the left block over Gasol to put the Suns back on top by one with 37 seconds left. The Argentinian then poked the ball free from Mike Conley on Memphis’ next possession, but the Suns couldn’t capitalize on the mistake, as Dragic split his pair of free throws.

Down two with under 30 seconds to play, everyone from Beale Street to Graceland knew who Hollins was going to draw up a final play for: former All-Star Rudy Gay.

After getting the ball on the perimeter, Gay took Tucker off the dribble, and despite good help-side defense from Scola, calmly flipped the ball with his right hand from 12-feet out over both defenders to tie the game at 94.

On the ensuing possession, the Suns had a chance to pull off a last-second victory but poor execution by Dragic forced O’Neal into a tough 20-foot jump shot, which he missed as time expired.

In the extra session, Randolph outscored Phoenix on his own (6-4) to help Memphis win going away, as the Suns dropped their season-high fourth straight contest.

“Against a great team like [the Grizzlies], you have to finish and we just didn’t,” head coach Alvin Gentry told reporters. “The effort was there, especially playing the sixth game of a six-game trip. The effort was great. We just didn’t quite get it done.”

For all of the silver linings Gentry and his coaching staff will likely search for on their three-hour flight back to Phoenix, one thing is becoming clearer and clearer as the season progresses. The Suns don’t have a go-to-guy to win a game late, and they probably won’t all season.

A Shannon Brown layup here, a Michael Beasley finish there and a better final possession against Memphis may have made all difference in the Suns finishing their 6,300-mile trip 4-2 instead of 1-5. But the NBA is not a game of hypotheticals.  None of those things happened and it doesn’t appear that Suns are any closer to finding a late-game solution at the offensive end than they were say before the season began.

Of their seven wins, not one has come against a team with a record above .500. And although Phoenix has pulled off some remarkable victories against the likes of the Cleveland Cavaliers and New Orleans Hornets, when playing teams with more talent, hustle and effort will not win out. It takes an ability to rise to the occasion when the pressure is at its greatest, and although the Suns went toe-to-toe with one of the best teams in the Western Conference Tuesday night, they head back to the Valley with nothing to show for it.

And 1

  • If Zach Randolph’s MVP candidacy hasn’t taken off yet, Tuesday night certainly would seem like a good place to start. Z-Bo had his way with Markieff Morris early and Marcin Gortat late, en route to his league-leading 14th double-double (38 points and 22 rebounds) on the season.
  • Sebastian Telfair did not accompany the team to Memphis, as he stayed back in New York to deal with a personal matter. Because the team sent rookie Kendall Marshall down to the D-League this past week, undrafted free agent Diante Garrett saw his first meaningful minutes in the NBA. In nine minutes of action, Garrett scored one point, dished out three assists and also added a steal.
  • The Suns play eight of their next 10 games at home starting with Thursday’s nationally-televised game against the Dallas Mavericks. In case you’ve been sleeping under a rock, consider this a friendly reminder that the organization has planned a rather unique promotion for the contest called  “Satisfaction Guaranteed Night.” Basically, if you attend the game and are not happy with your experience — be it the on-court product, poor parking, lousy concessions, etc. — you can send your ticket stub to an address provided on the team’s website and get your money refunded.

  • anonymous

    Damn i was about to say the suns would beat the 96 bulls 4-1 in this years finals. But they lost in ot.

  • Luka

    Sarver is already getting the Hefty bags ready at the Suns’ rebate center instructing the employees there to “conveniently” lose the fans submitted ticket stubs.

  • Gilberto

    Randolph was on fire in OT. Gortat was jumping all over the place, trying to contest, but the shots were still raining in. Good effort overall but unfortunately they came up short in OT.

  • Luka

    Anyone see Jermaine O’Neal sitting at the end of the game thinking… “Why did I sign here?”

  • shazam

    bwahahahaha anonymous….. @ tony what ever happened to steve?your nemesis poofed

  • Serek

    One thing hasn’t changed – every game one of opponent’s players is getting hot and has a career night in some way.

  • Dan Smith

    @Luka
    Lmao! I think Sarver’s even too cheap to pay for the stubs to be hauled to the junk yard

  • http://none Sillmarillion

    How the hell can you design such a shitty last play like the Suns did? Why does O’Neal think he’s the boss and fires of a shot that nearly was an air ball!
    Btw. it was a such a close game; wtihout the idiotic TOs of O’Neal and Brown – which could have been avoided easily – the game would have been a nice W.

  • Dan Smith

    Good ole Suns problem for the better part of a decade..can never close the show. If Dragic would have made both his foul shots, then Memphis woulda had to go for 3. Could have really changed the outcome. And then our late game plays and execution is horrible. Instead of going to JO, why not have Dragon do something..he’s the closest thing we have to a go to guy, and not that bad IMO, he is shooting 47% this year. Why not do something simple, drive..if defense comes then kick to Judley for a J, or dish underneath to Gortat or Scola?
    As much as Gortat complains maybe he has a point. For a guy who’s leading the team at 54%, why doesn’t he get more touches. I know he shoots high because he has a lot of close, inside shots and put backs etc…but he takes enough jumpers, turn arounds and hook shots where I think he’s effective scoring all around.

  • Dan Smith

    @SillMarillion
    My sentiments exactly…I know O’Neal’s playing pretty rejuvenated this year but doesn’t mean he’s our go to guy now…and plus he’s never been known for his spinning fadeway jumpers from what I recall.

  • Fan in Chi Town

    Great effort by our team against the best team in the league up to this point. This would have been a great win, however it now only serves to amplify why this team is so frustrating to support this season. If they gave effort like this every night they would win more than they lose.

    Also, Z-Bo is a great player, but his stats only further prove how soft our frontcourt is.

  • DBreezy

    You want to go with the standard, ‘tough loss’, but it wasn’t really to me. I’m a big league pass guy, dabbling in a wide spectrum of teams across the league. Tonight was a classic example of life as a deep lottery squad. So many fans just read the final score and assume bad teams just played badly as usually. Yet most of the deep lottery teams fight harder in a lot of games than the average fan believes, before a series of seemingly cruel what-if factors creep in and snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.

    Bottom line, for all of the angst, the Suns ended up losing by more than twice their average point differential for the season. Nothing’s changed, the question remains is how will the front office handle the situation going forward?

  • DBreezy

    Please forgive me for my horrible english and remove the ‘is’ from my last paragraph above.

    Thank you,

    Nenge Mboko

  • Anonymous

    I forgot to mention, we must send beasley to the d-league.

  • JR

    What pisses me off the most is that they put up a fight against stronger teams but they can’t concentrate and take advantage of teams like detroit and toronto. Great effort but i’m starting to doubt that suns will reach finals this year, it just doesn’t look good.

    @DBreezy
    i never forgive thing like that, you’re ded to me

  • Luka

    The Suns definitely need to trade Beasley. I’m starting to see why people hate Beas. The guy is literally in a “purple haze” every waking moment. The Suns somehow found a guy more lax than Diaw, which I never thought was possible. At least Diaw had some basketball acumen. I swear Beasley is on cloud 9. The slow reaction on defense and the awful shot selection are downright hurting the Suns. He deserves to be benched in favor of Tucker. The moment I saw Gentry putting him in the game once OT started I knew we were done.

    Package Gortat, Beasley, Morris, Wesley Johnson and two draft picks to Orlando for Vucevic, Afflalo, and Ayon.

  • http://valleyofthesuns.com hawki

    “…send Beasley to the D-League”

    D is for “Dro”

  • http://none Sillmarillion

    @ Dan Smith: I agree and I didn’ even notice that Gortat is leading PHX at FG%. Last year he was amongst the top 5 players considerung FG%. And a guy like him took only 4 shots yesterday? Why don’t they create plays for him? Why do Beasley and Brown have to have 25 shots a game? They suck.
    As for the toughness of Gortat’s shots. The three buckets he made yesterday were all jump shots, 15 ft range. So no easy layups or dunks, although he had a good position in the paint many times. Dragic and Brown simply won’t give him the ball. O’Neal is in a better position, because he gets the ball from Scola and Dudley very often.

  • john

    1-5 could have VERY easily been 3-3 or 4-2. The Suns just need to find ways to close out those 4th quarters.

    I blame a lot of the loss last night on Gentry again, due to what I believe was poor usage of timeouts at the end of each half. He let a 16-point lead dwindle to 4 (luckily Markieff nailed that last-second three to salvage a little bit of good feelings) without stopping the madness. Then, with 1:20 to go in a tie game, he doesn’t call a timeout to get a go-ahead shot at that critical juncture. Instead, the Suns get no look, Scola commits a breakaway foul, the Suns lose the lead, and THEN Gentry calls the timeout with 50 seconds left (and his best option was to “Throw it into Scola and let him shoot a 10-foot hook”).

    I like Gentry. I think he sounds like a fun guy to play for, but I seriously question his in-game decisions nearly every single game.

    Brown and Beasley are awful. Right now, they don’t belong on an NBA court. Especially Beasley. He’s lazy, apathetic, and stupid. Brown is only the last of those three, but his decisions are so terrible, it’s extremely obvious that the only reason he made it to this level is because he is an exceptional talent.

    It’s frustrating watching guys continually making the same mental mistakes night in and night out. I don’t know how Gentry still has any hair (or his job).

  • Tim in BC

    Not that it would probably happen but why don’t the Suns try and get Pau Gasol since he does not seem to be wanted there and he would be able to escape the verbal and emotional abuse at the hands of Kobe Bryant (I feel sorry for Gasol the way Bryant treats him) Maybe the Lakers would take Gortat. Even though he is not the player Gasol is, he did play well with Hollywood Steve and could do well in D’Antoni’s sytem. They could throw Brown in there too since the Lakers might want him back with all their injuries. Or they could send Gortat tot the Raptors for Bargnani and Jose Calderon.
    I think they have to do something about Beasley too as he hasn’t lived up to expectations.

  • DBreezy

    Wouldn’t the Suns basically be inviting Lamar Odom in Dallas 2.0 among other things if they traded for Gasol? Pau has been pouting in LA since the rise of Andrew Bynum and the departure of Phil Jackson. If he’s been sulking in LA for 2+ years, what would he think about being a part of the current Suns squad? I guess he, Scola and Dragic could share a good laugh about the failed CP3 to the Lakers trade finally coming together in Phoenix.

  • john

    I would take Pau in a second. A pouty Pau is better than a pouty Gortat, a whatever-he-is Beasley, and a dumb Shannon Brown.

    Pau played hard in Memphis for years when he had virtually no one around him and nothing to play for besides himself. I think he could do it again in Phoenix.

  • robzilla

    whats sucks is the suns need to play bease just in hope he has a nice run and gets his trade value up. AND did Markieff tell channing frye that he would honor him by hoisting any three pointer he sees? Wheres the inside play and boards we drafted, if the guy continues to camp out on the perimeter like it’s black friday, he might be sent packing with bease. Basically with harden locked up now, our plans to make a splash next summer is fools gold. The two best fits for our team who are free agents are also available on the trade market (or will be by valentines day) Tyreke evans and Milsap. Its would be wise to trade for them instead of waiting to sign them because A) could get an extention at a discount as opposed to open market price. and B) we could send some unwanted parts back in the other direction( not gonna say who but he went to K-state.) Other wise what are we gonna do? Throw mad money at brandon jennings, or hope Mayo opts out and throw fat money towards him. Essentially we ‘re missing someone who can create his own shot and get to the line consistently. Not a whole lot of that available next summer. We gambled on bease thinking he could be coached into that mentality , however his defense is so historically bad it may not matter if he turns it around offensively. The Trade is our best shot of speeding up this rebulding process.

  • Michael

    I don´t see any GM around dumb enough to take any trade offer involving the name Beasley.
    This project is an absolute mess already. He is just not NBA quality.
    All we could try is shopping him in a package including Gortat, the only player with some trade value.

    Waiting for the FA is the road our Three Stooges will go, and they will be very surprised none of the quality players will be eager to sign with the Suns.

    Rebuilding is nasty…

  • Voqar

    I would’ve preferred a massacre since that game was a tease.

    As predicted, griz played down, played poor enough to lose, but the Suns managed to make a slew of crappy turnovers, decisions, and shots to hand the game away.

    Why can’t the suns protect the ball? Why do they go thru periods where they just basically give the ball to the other team for about 5 possessions to throw games away?

    Why can’t any suns team EVER go for the throat? When you get an opponent down by 15 you don’t let up, you stomp on them til they cry to mommy. But not the Suns, it’s like they feel bad about having a lead and start to let up and then choke. This has been a problem with this franchise as long as I can remember.

    Why did Gentry ever put Beasely back in the game when the game was on the line? Are we TRYING to lose games for better draft position?

    Brown was playing ok – his jumper makes you cringe lately but at least he SOMETIMES makes layups, unlike Beasely who can’t even make layups most of the time. And Brown is sometimes disruptive and helpful on defense where Beasely is erratic and kills the team on defense. I don’t think Brown even played in the 4th and they put Beasely in instead.

    I doubt Sarver will fire Gentry because he’s undoubtably one of the lowest paid coaches in the league and Sarver is one of the cheapest/worst/most useless owners. Gotta wonder if Gentry is considering resigning because coaching this has to be miserable and something has to change.

    The team shows flashes of competitiveness and for moments in time plays credible defense and offense but the consistency is horrific and when the team falters it’s such a disaster. You have to wonder if the coaching is part of the problem with the inconsistency.

    The Suns should’ve won this game, but as EJ is fond of saying, bad teams find ways to lose games. Unfortunately that’s true of the team he represents as well.

  • Scott

    The Suns executed very well for about 42 minutes. That’s the best play we’ve seen from them all year.

    If they’d been able to hang on and continue executing for the full 48, the Suns would have won. It was the turnovers in the 2nd half that did them in.

    I was happy to see Garrett get some play time. IMO, he’s a better PG than Telfair. At the moment, Telfair beats him out on pesky defense and scoring (Telfair is scoring much better now than in the past), but Garrett has better court vision and passing, and once he adjusts to the NBA will most likely be a better all-around player than Telfair.

    I still like the idea of the Suns rotating Dragic, Telfair, and Garrett at both guard spots. I don’t think the Suns are really getting a lot out of Dudley or Brown at SG, and could stand to have the extra facilitator.

    If it was possible to trade Beasley without taking a hit, I would do it.

    The best trade I see at the moment is a 3-way with the Wiz and Orlando. Send Gortat, Vesely, and Telfair to Orlando, send Beasley and Johnson to Washington, and take back Okafor, Afflalo, Vucevic, and Harkless.

    The angles here would be to save Washington $6 million this year and an additional $6 million the next, while giving Orlando a franchise center and veteran backup PG in exchange for a veteran wing and a couple of young players.

    The Suns would gain a veteran PF/C in Okafor (who doesn’t need scoring touches), a young PF/C with range in Vucevic, a fiery two-way veteran SG/SF in Afflalo, and a project SF in Harkless who is already looking better than Beasley or Johnson.

    The Suns would be using their extra cap space to take on Okafor, but that’s what it is there for. Okafor would turn into a big expiring contract next year.

    Lineups for the Suns after this trade could be:

    Dragic, Afflalo, Dudley, Scola, Okafor

    Marshall / Garrett, Brown, Harkless, Morris, O’Neal / Vucevic

    As you can see, the Suns would lose depth at the wing, but they actually had too much. With this roster, the pecking order is much clearer.

    And while I think O’Neal is actually happy to be with the Suns, if he’s hoping to get out, he could be put into the trade with Orlando in exchange for one of their other young bigs, like Ayon or O’Quinn. In that way, the Suns could help prepare themselves for the likely departure of Scola in the summer.

  • Ty-Sun

    Nobody is going to want Beasley even if he’s packaged with Gortat. Gortat and Johnson is a better package because Johnson’s deal is an expiring contract which would be more attractive to a team looking to shed a little salary next season.

    Telfair’s stock seems to be going up too and there is some speculation that contending teams in need of a solid backup PG might be interested in making a mid-season trade for him.

    I don’t expect any great trades to be made by the Suns this season and if any trades are made I don’t expect Beasley to be a part of them. This is probably Beasley’s last shot at proving he’s anything more than a career backup caliber player in the NBA. Hopefully he will eventually do that but I doubt it.

  • Yohance

    Like I stated earlier Gentry needs to mix up his line ups. I now this team has talent if they use it correctly. I would try to use Dragic as our go to scorer and utilize his strengths which I believe are similar to Manu Ginobli and not Nash. He still can make assist when the defense tries to focus on him. But he better suited as a 2 guard.

    Telfair/Marshall or Garret Dragic/Brown/W. Johnson Dudley/Tucker/W.Johnson Scola/Morris/Beasley J.Oneal/Gortat/Morris

    We need to play according to our players strengths and that means don’t play Gortat and Scola together because they both they seam to clash. I think Telfair,Dragic,Dudley,Scola,Oneal works. Dragic and Scola will be our main scorers. Telfair, Dudley, and Oneal can chip in and do what they do best play smart physical basketball. On the bench Gortat and Brown will be the primary scorers. Marshall should he able to facilitate and has played with Morris before. He needs experience and we drafted him so use him or trade him and let Garrett get his min. Tucker and Beasley should play together one of the is potentially or best defender and the other can get hot even though he a liability on defense and streaky.

  • Yohance

    I like Gentry as a person and friend and I do think that some of our players respect him and play hard. But over the years one has to ask themselves is it our payers, lack of talent, the system that is in place, or coaching. I initially thought it was just our players but Gentry is staring to get on my nerves with his decisions. Maybe we need to go after a Stan Van Gundy, Nate McMillan, or an established available coach. But until we figure out who is are best two scorers or figure out a way get a star we will continue to be mediocre to bad. I think Dragic and Scola are our most consistent scorers. For the time being utilize the assets that we have. What are your thoughts on my line Up changes and using dragic as our starting two guard?

  • Scott

    @Ty-Sun -

    The solution to Beasley could be to not package him with another player, but to send him away for a player with an even worse contract.

    In my trade above, I suggest trading Beasley and Johnson for Okafor. The Wiz have no need for Okafor, as they’d prefer to start Nene and back him up with Seraphin. So that’s 2 years @$13-14m sitting on the shelf. They’d probably also like to dump draft bust Jan Vesely for a better SF.

    If the Wiz take Beasley and Johnson for Okafor and Vesely, not only do they have 2 chances at replacing Vesely with a better player, but they cut a huge amount of salary off the payroll, which would allow them to take on another nasty big contract in the future.

    The Suns could actually use Okafor. Okafor gets all of his offense from garbage around the basket. If you start Okafor, then Scola can return to the starting lineup.

    Of course, if the Suns are getting Okafor with the idea of starting him, they need to trade Gortat, hence the other side of the trade.

  • DBreezy

    @John,

    Pau could play hard, but chooses not to. This is not a new problem, no matter how much ESPN tries to play it up daily for ratings churn. He has been unhappy since Bynum got better and PJ increased his usage in the offense, but at the same time he doesn’t want to leave LA. Don’t forget how much he pouted last season about having been included in the CP3 trade that was nixed. Even with his pouting this season, every indication is that he wants to stay in LA but just have things his way offensively. Imo, that’s why the Lakers gave his agent the wakeup call they just did.

    @Scott

    I don’t think the Wiz do much of anything until Wall returns and they see how things work with him. Plus a lot of their recent moves were made to get rid of players that are considered knuckleheads, so I can’t see Leonsis and crew would be in the mood to take on Beasley.

  • Scott

    @DBreezy -

    That could be, but neither Beasley nor Johnson is a high maintenance type knucklehead. They’re just low motor, low IQ.

    Surely both players realize they’ve lost their chance with the Suns. Moving to the Wiz would give them one more shot. If that doesn’t motivate them, nothing will.

    Johnson is an expiring contract, and Beasley has one more year.

    So as GM would you rather keep a useless Okafor on the team for 2 years for a total of $26 million, or a useless Beasley for @14 million?

    And, of course, Beasley would be easier to trade next year, when he’s an expiring contract. They could probably trade him to the Cats for nothing.

    To me, it’s hard to see the downside for the Wiz.

  • Ty-Sun

    If Beasley and Johnson can’t make it here, why would an even worse team think that one or especially both of them are worth the risk of giving them “one more chance”? Even though Okafor is overpaid he still has a PER of 16.39 this season while playing about 21 mins a game – on the worst team in the NBA – which is higher than Beasley and Johnson’s PERs combined. He’s certainly not “useless”.

    And DBreezy makes a very good point that Wall has yet to play this season and the Wiz aren’t likely to make any major moves until they see how the team plays with him running the show.

  • DBreezy

    @Scott,

    While I agree with your characterization of Beasley, his reputation will remain that of a knucklehead until he is doing well on a winning team. Silly, but sports often work that way. Look at a similar career arc player in Lamar Odom and the passes he continues to get because of what he did on the Lake Show.

    As for the GM question, I don’t think they’re ready to give up on Vesely yet(witness Leonsis’ comments on his blog the other day) and when you consider how they were willing to add the salaries of Ariza, Nene, and Okafor while being fully cognizant of the $$$ issues, I think they fully intend to see what they can do with a healthy Wall. They basically seem to want finishers and defenders around Wall and Beal and neither Beas nor Wes fit that description.

  • Matt

    We need to trade for tyreke and either trade or sign bynum

  • grover

    I’m going to counter the arguments about Beasley. He sucks big time – no doubt about it, so I certainly am NOT arguing he is playing well and or is not making the Suns worse. There are arguments for keeping him and continuing to give him good playing time anyway. Here goes:

    1) he has negative trade value right now. The way he is playing, the only way anyone else takes him is if the Suns take back something worse or include something better.

    2) Beasley has an All Star body and athletic talent, but has not shown the drive or basketball IQ to be even an average NBA player. He will not improve his basketball IQ sitting on the bench, only by playing. The only way he improves his drive or motor by sitting on the bench is if he takes offense at being benched and gets motivated, which hardly seems likely given his history.

    3). The Suns knew all of this when signing Beasley. If he had the head of a Grant Hill or even PJ Tucker, he’d have been a max contract guy. The Suns signed him to a mediocre three year deal knowing it was a gamble… Either they wasted the money or they hit a home run and figure out to get into his little walnut sized brain and turn him into a professional athlete (something his two previous teams failed at).

    4) the Suns have zero chance of making the playoffs if they don’t somehow get Beasley to reach closer to his potential. This is not a team that clearly has playoff talent and its just up to Gentry to find the right combination of players to get there. This team sucks so their only shot is if they can figure Beasley out. Play Beasley and he continues as is and the Suns win 30 games. Replace him and Tucker plays his heart out… 35 games? 40 games? That’s still out of the playoffs. Their only chance for a large improvement is to get through to Beasley.

    I’m not defending the guy by any means, nor am I saying he was a good signing. What I am saying is you don’t sign a player who you know is a project and the give up on him less than 20 games into a three year contract, not when there is nothing to be gained by giving up on him.

    Stay the course. Play Beasley and try to develop his potential. The worst case is we come in 14th in the West instead of 10th? The best case is you develop a player with rare DNA even by NBA standards.

  • john

    @grover

    Strangely enough, I agree. Even though I don’t believe Beasley belongs on an NBA court, I still believe he should be given the minutes and opportunities of a starter. Best case scenario – He figures it out, turns into an All-Star, and the Suns have another steal on their hands. Worst case, he continues to hurt the team like he has been, the Suns end up top 5, draft a game-changer, and can increase their chances of contending again within the next few years.

  • Rebel 2

    I also agree with a lot of the sentiment here: Beasley cannot and should not start… The worst has happened: in team after team Beasley just doesn’t run, doesn’t defend, doesn’t take over, doesn’t do much at all, but take up minutes. His career should be over in the NBA, let him try it out somewhere else…

  • Russell Suns fan

    @John,

    I hear your excitement about the top 5 draft pick, only one problem…this years draft is one of the worst NBA talent drafts in it’s history. Most of the guy’s going in the top 5 this summer would not have even been drafted in the top 10 last 2 drafts.

    The Suns picked the worst possible year to get a top draft, at best we will get a roll player just pray we don’t end up another Wesley Johnson type guy (he went 4th when Minny took him).

    http://www.cbssports.com/collegebasketball/story/21279385/wholl-go-first-in-nba-draft-good-luck-with-that

  • Tony

    I don’t understand why so many Suns fans want Gentry to bench Beasley? I understand he’s playing extremely poorly and is not an overall good basketball player. But, if Gentry benches him now, imagine what that will do to his confidence. He will lose any that he still possesses despite playing so poorly. We don’t want another Josh Childress on our hands.

    You all have to realize that this current Suns team is already exceeding every national NBA-analyists expectations at this point. I said this before the season started that this Suns roster was easily one of the worst in the NBA. Although their schedule started off against mostly lottery-destined teams, their 7-12 record is actually impressive for this group.

    So the worst possible move to make would be for Gentry to start benching his younger, more talented players, such as Beasley. Gentry has already done a pretty poor job with regards to Gortat, as I would be shocked if, despite constantly being benched in 4th quarters and not even the Suns 3rd option offensively, that Gortat has one bit of desire left to resign with the Suns. So I think it would be a mistake for Gentry to sacrifice the development of the younger Suns players so as to win the team a few extra meaningless games.

  • DBreezy

    @Russell,

    While I wouldn’t call this upcoming draft a good one, I think there’s a certain level of gamesmanship going on with the early scouting reports. While there isn’t a consensus number one, at this point I find it hard to believe that Zeller, Noel, and Shabazz wouldn’t have gone in the top ten in the last two drafts, especially 2011. I suppose the other two of the top 5 would be debatable, but McAdoo, Goodwin, and possibly French mystery man Gobert probably would have had a chance.

    I don’t know think this Suns management would ever pick a year to get a top 5 pick, they’ll likely have to be dragged there by inertia-probably more than a few times too. To me the great debate of the past few years has pretty much passed and the most likely way the Suns are going to find a young star to build around will be the draft. I’m not saying they have to go into shameless tank mode, just that the moves they do make should keep that likelihood in mind.

    The Suns haven’t been ones for long term planning, but they may just have to take that approach. It’s likely the picks they get this season won’t be instant franchise changers like Durant or Lebron, but they could be integral parts of the turnaround. Maybe they get a solid complementary piece with a top 10 pick. Think Zeller as a complementary scoring big a la Pau Gasol, someone like Noel or Gobert as Serge Ibaka or Joachim Noah types. Maybe Goodwin or Shabazz don’t become superstars, but solid number 2 scorers from the wing. The later picks, wherever they fall can be used on the best available players to fill roster spots cheaply, allowing them to let some players go in free agency and possibly trade some others for picks/young players.

    Hopefully they find a good young Monty Williams type coach to grow with them. As always there’s a certain amount of luck involved so then you have to hope for either a great top 3 pick in the future, a Deron Williams/Harden type trade possibility with your young assets, or less likely a big free agent coming here.

  • Scott

    I don’t know if it matters so much if there’s a strong or weak draft class. The main thing is the Suns need to draft well.

  • DBreezy

    Instead of drawing Blanks?

  • Rebel 2

    @Tony: I can’t believe the best you can come up with is the concern for Beasley’s “confidence”… Don’t you remember that this was supposed to be his third/fourth chance?

    I care more about the confidence of the team. Can the team play together? Can they rely on each other? Not with Beasley, certainly.

    Beasley’s confidence can be sacrificed so that the team can regain DIGNITY.

  • BCrayZ

    Mavs lost by 22 last night.

    Who will be the more tired team?

  • Tim in BC

    I think that Gasol is pouty because of D’Antoni not playing him till Nash gets back and also because Kobe Bryant verbally abuses him. One day Kobe is yelling at him on the floor and telling him to “put on his big boy pants” and the next day he is saying how great a player Pau is and could be if he played harder. Talk about the abuse cycle! I remember one game last year Kobe yelled at Pau for missing a pass from him. I think Gasol missed because he was in shock that Bryant the ball hog actually passed him the ball. I think Gasol would be a good addition to the Suns although it probably will not happen.

  • Ty-Sun

    Yeah, when you think about it a 7-12 start is depressing but for a team with only 5 players returning from last years squad (not including Frye) it could be much worse.

    At his point I’m not sure that tinkering with the starting lineup (benching Beasley) is going to make a significant difference in the outcome of this season. Beasley was a gamble that hasn’t paid off so far. It may never but it’s a long season and there’s still time for things to come together. This team won’t make the playoffs even if that happens but who knows what might happen before the mid-season trade deadline.

    Lol, and on the bright side, the Lakers are off to such a poor start that maybe that first round pick we got from them isn’t going to be as low as everyone expected.

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